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Pokemon Brilliant Stars Set Review – Lightning, Psychic and Fighting

Brilliant Stars has become one of the most anticipated Pokemon TCG sets in recent memory. This set is introducing a brand new game mechanic in VSTAR Pokemon, and also bringing back some familiar strategies! This is going to be part two of my four-part set review. I’ll be taking a close look at all of the Lighting, Psychic and Fighting type Pokemon in this part. If you missed part one where I covered all the Grass, Fire, and Water Pokemon, be sure to check out my previous article.

Throughout my set review, I’ll be grading each of the interesting cards on a five-point scale to leave my opinion on what kind of impact these cards will have on the competitive Pokemon TCG landscape. This review will be in four parts and released over the course of the next week. Each part will cover all Pokemon of a certain type. 

  1. Grass, Fire, and Water Pokemon
  2. Lightning, Psychic, and Fighting Pokemon
  3. Darkness, Metal, and Dragon Pokemon
  4. Colorless Pokemon and Trainers/Special Energy

As mentioned, these cards will be graded on a five-point scale, one being the worst and five being the best. Since this is my first set review on ChannelFireball, let’s break down my criteria for each of these 5 points.

  • 1 Point (Not Competitively Viable) – Cards with a score of 1 point are cards that I do not deem to be competitively viable.
  • 2 Points (Interesting Cards) – Cards with a score of 2 points are cards that have some potential or have interesting designs. But ultimately I believe these cards will see very little, if any competitive play.
  • 3 Points (Solid Cards) – Cards with a score of 3 points are cards that are pretty solid overall. Most of these cards will see some play in rogue decks, or be an occasional inclusion in meta decks.
  • 4 Points (Very Good) – Cards with a score of 4 points are cards that are very good, and are likely to make a competitive impact. These cards will be often played in tier 2 or tier 3 decks, sometimes making a splash into tier 1!
  • 5 Points (Top Tier) – Cards with a score of 5 points are cards that will instantly have an impact on the competitive metagame. These cards will either be defining to a brand new archetype, regular inclusions in top tier decks, or play a pivotal role in the overall deck building strategy of all players. Expect me to be very stingy with this 5/5 ranking! Not many cards will (or should) fit into this category.

I will be rating all of the ultra rares and holo rares on this scale. I will also rank any other additional cards that I find interesting or deem worthy of being rated. If you don’t see a card on this list, it is safe to assume I would rate it a one.

It is, of course, worth noting that all pieces of this set review are my opinions! I’m by no means perfect, and you may disagree with where I rank certain cards. My ranking will be based on my experience in the game at the highest level, being a Worlds competitor and regular player. All of my rankings will be based on the cards’ potential in the current Standard format. Some cards may be much better in the Expanded format or even in the Gym Leader Challenge format, but for the purposes of this review, I will only be referencing Standard. Of course, future cards could be released that will make any of these cards much better than they currently are, but I can’t predict the future! So again, these cards will be rated based on the current standard format metagame, and the current standard format card pool.

One final note: all translations come courtesy of Pokebeach.com.

Let’s begin!

 

 

Header - Lightning Type

Raichu V 045/172

Basic Pokemon

[L] Fast Charge: If you go first, you can use this attack on your first turn. Search your deck for a [L] Energy and attach it to this Pokemon. Then, shuffle your deck.

[L][L] Dynamic Spark: 60x damage. You may discard any amount of [L] Energy from your Pokemon in play. This attack does 60 damage for each card you discarded in this way.

When your Pokemon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 1

3/5
There is a lot of upside to this card, since it has no damage cap, and there are a lot of Lightning support cards in the format! Dynamic Spark deals 60 damage for each Lightning Energy you discard from any of your Pokemon in play. The key factor here is that the energy that you discard doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to Raichu V! This is effectively the same attack as Alcremie VMAX’s G-Max Whisk, and that card has been pretty solid in the past. This obviously combos very well with Flaaffy EVS, and I could even see combining this with Boltund V RCL and Boltund VMAX FST! The downsides of this card are that is can take a long time to build up enough energy in play to deal reasonable damage, and you have to discard six Lightning Energy to pickup one-hit KOs on VMAX Pokemon. Choice Belt can help a little bit with the damage output as well. Don’t be surprised if Raichu V eventually shocks the format!

Raikou V 048/172

Basic Pokemon

Ability: Fleet-Footed
Once during your turn, if this Pokemon is in the Active Spot, you may draw a card.

[L][C] Lightning Rondo: 20+ damage. This attack does 20 more damage for each Benched Pokemon (both yours and your opponent’s).

When your Pokemon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

3/5
This card is just the Lightning type equivalent to Suicune V and Entei V. If you read the first part of my set review, you may notice that I’m grading this card a 3/5 while I gave Entei V a 4/5. The main reason for this is Entei V’s access to acceleration through Magma Basin. Even Suicune V has a great acceleration option in Melony. Raikou V’s energy acceleration options are pretty limited to just Flaaffy EVS. And while Flaaffy is good, it’s a Stage 1 Pokemon that requires a turn to get into play. While Entei V and Suicune V can start attacking on turn one if they would like, Raikou V has to wait around just a bit longer. In the right meta, I think Raikou V could be solid, but for now it’s Fire and Water Type brethren will be the better option.

Luxray 051/172

Luxray (051/172)

1/5

For a Stage 2 deck to stand a chance of having any success right now, I think it is necessary for it to be able to attack for a very low cost. While Luxray does fit that criteria, sadly it still just doesn’t do quite enough to give it a competitive chance. Energy Crush could snag a sneaky one-hit KO vs an Arceus VSTAR player who accelerated just a little too much energy in play, but oftentimes players should be able to play in a way that limits Luxrays damage output. 

Pachirisu 052/172

Basic Pokemon

[L][C] Windup Thunder: 30x damage. This attack does 30 damage for each Pokemon Tool attached to all of your Pokemon.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 1

2/5
While this certainly could be a fun card to mess around with, I think it’s a little ambitious to think that this deck stands any real competitive chance. Windup Thunder deals 30 damage for each Pokemon Tool card you have in play. This obviously will combo well with Honchkrow V’s Boss Pockets Ability. But in order to reach high damage output, you will need to have a lot of tools in play, and in order to have a lot of tools in play, you have to draw them and you also have to play a lot of tools in your deck. Tool cards are very rarely consistency boosters, so committing too many deck slots to them will make your deck much less consistent. Not to mention that Path to the Peak can shut off Honchkrow V’s Ability, and force you to discard many of those precious tools. 

 

Header - Psychic Type

Granbull V 057/172

Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Enraged Fang: 30+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each damage counter on this Pokemon.

[P][P][C] Bull Dash: 190 damage. This Pokemon does 30 damage to itself.

When your Pokemon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

1/5
I almost gave this card a 2/5, but I just couldn’t justify it. Bull Dash does deal a solid amount of damage at 190 for a basic two-prize Pokemon. It’s actually the same damage output and energy requirement as Moltres V’s Aura Burn, but Granbull V lacks the built-in energy acceleration that Direflame Wings provides. Chomp is a pretty mediocre attack which in order to deal any significant damage, Granbull V would have to sustain a pretty big hit. There are many things that can easily deal with this card, so don’t expect too much from it.

Dusknoir 062/172

Stage 2 – Evolves from Dusclops

Ability: Special Trans
As often as you like during your turn, you may move a Special Energy from 1 of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon.

[P][C][C] Soul Eat: 120 damage.

Weakness: Darkness (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: 3

2/5
This card’s potential lies entirely with its ability, Special Transfer. Energy movement abilities like this have been strong historically in the Pokemon TCG, think Aromatisse XY’s Fairy Transfer, or Klinklang BW’s Shift Gear. This ability could potentially combo really well with something like Cheryl, to allow you to keep energy cards in play while healing your Pokemon completely. This strategy is already available in the current format right now though Bronzong’s Metal Transfer and that card doesn’t see much play. Perhaps Dusknoir will have its day, but for now it’s not great.

 

Whimsicott V 064/172

Basic Pokemon

[P] Fluffy Obstruction: 20 damage. If the Defending Pokemon is a Basic Pokemon, it can’t attack during your opponent’s next turn.

[P][C][C] Cotton Guard: 90 Damage. During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokemon takes 30 less damage from attacks (after applying Weakness and Resistance).

When your Pokemon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

2/5
Whimsicott V is not great on it’s own, but its two attacks aren’t bad for a Pokemon V that is meant to evolve. Fluff Gets in the Way is situationally solid, as it can buy you a turn under the right circumstances. And Cotton Guard can also buy you a turn, provided the damage reduction it provides will keep you out of range of being KOd by whatever your opponent has. Whimsicott’s real potential lies with it’s VSTAR form. 

Whimsicott VSTAR 065/172

Whimsicott VSTAR (065/172)
3/5
This card should bring flashes of Chaos for any long time player! Trick Wind deals a mediocre 160 damage for three energy, but carries with it a powerful effect. During your opponent’s next turn, they are unable to play any Special Energy or Pokemon Tool cards from their hand. This is of course reminiscent of Griatina-EX’s Chaos Wheel attack, which was a very popular attacking option back in 2016. Though Trick Wind is missing a key piece that Chaos Wheel had, Chaos Wheel also prevented your opponent from playing any Stadium cards during their turn. Personally, I find this to be a welcome omission, since playing against a deck that could freely lock Path to the Peak into play doesn’t sound very fun, but it certainly makes Trick Wind a bit weaker. The success of these types of attackers are always dependent on how popular Special Energy are in the format, and right now Special Energy are used in a lot of decks!

Whimsicott VSTAR’s VSTAR Power is Fluffball Star, which deals 60 damage to one of your opponent Pokemon for each energy attached to Whimsicott VSTAR. This combos very well with Double Turbo Energy, and could aid in getting either a quick early game KO on a Pokemon V before it can evolve, or finish off something on the bench to close out the game. Overall, Whimsicott VSTAR seems to be pretty solid, but I think it has a lot of potential. 


Mimikyu V 068/172

Mimikyu V (068/172)
2/5
I’m not going to go too in depth here since this card is a direct reprint of the Mimikyu V from Battle Styles, but both the Ability and attacks of this card are very good for an evolving basic. It’s success will be directly determined by how good Mimikyu VMAX will be.

Mimikyu VMAX 069/172

VMAX Pokemon – Evolves from Mimikyu V

[C][C] Occult Number: Put 4 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like. If you played Acerola’s Premonition from your hand during this turn, put 13 damage counters instead.

[P][P] Max Shadow: 120 damage. Discard a random card from your opponent’s hand.

When your Pokemon VMAX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 3 Prize cards.

Weakness: Darkness (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: 1

2/5
Cards that rely on you playing a specific supporter card in order to achieve their full effect are generally not very good in the Pokemon TCG. Though Mimikyu VMAX’s Ominous Numbers could be an exception. For two colorless, placing four damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon however you like isn’t great, but if you played Acerola’s Premonition from your hand during this turn, you’re able to place 13 damage counters instead. 13 damage counters placed however you would like is so many damage counters! You could potentially wipe two Sobbles off the bench before they even have the chance to evolve. You can spread in a way that can yield you multiple KOs in a turn on future turns. 

Acerola’s Premonition is an okay draw supporter, I’ll cover it more in depth in part four of my set review. There is certainly potential here, but for now I’ll stick with history, and history states that cards the require a specific card to be played in order to get their full effect are too inconsistent to be competitively viable.


Alcremie 071/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Milcery

Ability: Extra Order
If this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, your turn does not end when you play Cafe Master.

[C][C] Rainbow Flavor: 10+ damage. This attack does 40 more damage for each type of basic Energy attached to your Pokemon in play.

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

1/5
This is definitely a card I’ll be trying out, and the potential it appears to have is so tempting! If you can somehow manage to get all eight different types of basic energy into play, then you’ll be dealing an impressive 330 damage, which will KO pretty much everything in just one attack. But getting to that point is a lot to ask. Even if you’re able to play Cafe Master on your turn, you’ll need a lot of Exp. Shares in order to keep all of those energy in play. I would love to be pleasantly surprised by this card though!

 

Header - Fighting Type

Flygon 076/172

Stage 2 – Evolves from Vibrava

[F] Desert Pillar: 50x damage. This attack does 50 damage for each Energy in your opponent’s Active Pokemon’s Retreat Cost.

[F][C] Blast Wind: 110 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

1/5
For a Stage 2 to stand a chance at success, it needs to have a very energy efficient attack. And the one Fighting Energy required to use Desert Pillar is pretty solid! But that’s where this card’s upside ends. Ultimately this card is just a worse version of Leafeon VMAX. So if you’re itching to target your opponent’s retreat cost, I would stick with Leafeon.

Wormadam 077/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Burmy

[C][C] Madam’s Rage: 30+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each Pokemon in your discard pile.

[F][C][C] Bind Down: 80 damage. The Defending Pokemon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 2

2/5
My opinions of this card are pretty much the same as the Grass type Wormadam that I reviewed in part one. I will say that this Wormadam has a slightly better chance than it’s Grass or Metal counterparts, since hitting for Fighting weakness is very good right now. Popular Pokemon like Gengar VMAX and Jolteon VMAX are weak to fighting, but even still you would need 12 or 13 Pokemon in the discard pile in order to reach that one hit KO potential. Choice Band can help a bit, and actually makes quick KOs pretty feasible.

Lucario 079/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Riolu

Ability: Roaring Resolve
Once during your turn, you may put 2 damage counters on this Pokemon. If you do, search your deck for a [F] Energy and attach it to this Pokemon. Then, shuffle your deck.

[F][F] Continuous Aura Sphere: 10+ damage. Discard all [F] Energy from this Pokemon. This attack does 60 more damage for each card discarded in this way.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

1/5
While this card is interesting, and doesn’t remind me of Charizard TEU (which had an ability of the same name). It’s just simply not great. It only grabs one energy from the deck, as opposed to the two which Charizard TEU could get, and then you have to discard all those energy when you attack. If this card could feasibly reach one hit knockouts on Pokemon VMAX, I could see it having a chance. As its stands, this card is just not very good.

 

Header - Closing

Part two in the books! Just a reminder, if you missed part one, you will definitely want to check it out! There are so many great cards in this set, and I can’t wait to see what creative decks and strategies players come up with. Keep your eye out for the third and fourth parts of this set review, coming soon! And don’t forget to check out ChannelFireball.com if you want to preorder any singles or sealed products from this stellar set!

As always, keep playing Pokemon!

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